Conflict in the Ozarks
Hill Folk, Industrialists, and Government in Missouri’s Courtois Hills
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At the end of the nineteenth century, the rugged landscape of the Courtois Hills in the Missouri Ozarks was host to an isolated society of tenacious inhabitants, who subsisted almost entirely on the resources of its rich forests. It was this same valuable timber that drew the Missouri Lumber and Mining Company to the area, and sparked an enduring cultural and environmental struggle. David Benac examines the struggle between residents and outsiders through government documents, company records, local newspapers, and oral histories. He reviews more than sixty years of major social and economic changes for the hill folk and for the forest itself. In less than a century, the Courtois Hills saw the end of a near hunter-gatherer existence, the rise and fall of the profitable but devastating timber industry, and the beginning of a new era of conservation and environmental awareness.